I was standing in my bedroom this morning, wet clothes in hand as I was laying them out to dry, thinking about nothing and a million things all at once when it hit me: I have an amazing husband. We have been married for two years next month, and for some reason the weight of Don's character, love, and faithfulness just hit me for the first time today. I guess maybe it's because we went through so many trials in the first few years of dating and marriage that we were merely trying to survive. Or maybe it's because he's not the same person today as he was when I first met him. Or maybe it's simply because today God wanted me to fully understand the gift he has given me in my husband. Whatever the reason, this morning, I felt truly content. Sure, we don't live in the biggest house, we don't have tons of money, and our life is simple for the most part. But it's a good life. And I am grateful.
When Don and I first met, we were at very different places, physically and spiritually. I was working my first full-time job and in the midst of battling a several-years-long illness. He was in law school, searching, and very guarded. We were set up through a mutual friend and met for the first time at a kiddie pool party in May of 2013. It was not love at first sight. At least not for me. At this point, I had been in and out of a series of bad relationships and had pretty much given up on men altogether. I was looking for a strong man and a spiritual leader but had started feeling discouraged by the men of our generation. We had our first date at his apartment where he cooked me the worst meal he's made to date. Now, some of you may not know this, but my husband is an amazing cook. I always tell him that if his career plans don't work out, his fall back can be opening up a restaurant. He can do things in the kitchen that I wouldn't be able to do with 5 years of training. With that being said, this meal was not his finest hour. I thought to myself, "Great, I can't cook and this is terrible. We will starve."
I left that night not sure where things would go. Sure he was polite and courteous and we had similar tastes in music, but I was concerned that we weren't at the same place spiritually - and quite honestly he was at no place spiritually at this point apart from a belief in God. We continued to hang out for the next few months but took things pretty slow. I was jaded and fearful and tried to push him away, but at the urging of my friend Kim, we kept dating. I was still battling my illness, and it was the way he responded toward me that began changing things in my heart. I hadn't seen the real part of him yet, just the part he was putting out to the world. However, I will never forget the first time I was sick around him, it had been about a month in and I was nervous to tell him. I remember thinking he would just feel weird, not be able to handle it, and leave. To my surprise, the exact opposite happened. He was caring, attentive, and kind. I had never seen this side of him before. And to be honest, the whole time I was sick, very few people stood beside me or provided me with love and support in the way that he did. Most people either didn't understand or didn't know how to provide support. He sought to do both.
The next two years proved to be the two hardest years either of us has faced (and we've both faced a lot). We were engaged in April 2013 and later married in September of the same year, but for most of those first few years together we were facing a battle. We faced relational battles, physical battles, financial battles, emotional battles, and more. The amazing thing though: the harder the battle got, the more my husband fought, not just for himself, but for me. And the harder he fought, the more and more he started becoming a wonderful man of God. Don stood by me and supported me at a time when even some of my family and friends did not. The way he loved and cared for me with a deep and genuine compassion and understanding opened my eyes for maybe the first time ever to the heart of Jesus for me. Not just intellectually but experimentally. It was profound. I was so used to having to fight for myself most of my life that I didn't know what it was like to have someone to fight with me.
Don's love and compassion for me changed my relationship with Jesus on a fundamental level. I had spent most of my life afraid of God because of the way He had been portrayed to me. I wanted a relationship with Him, but was terrified of Him all at the same time. I thought I was unworthy, undeserving, and too broken. Don helped me to see myself the way God saw me. He saw the person underneath; the person that had been hurt time and time again, the person that needed someone to show her that she wasn't the things she believed about herself, someone to help her believe that life could be better.
We have since come on the other side of many of those trials, and God truly did use them for good. Our relationship was solidified in a way that it might not have been otherwise, God quickened Don's heart to become a soul on fire, and we learned how to work together as a team. Life is a little sweeter on the other side of the brokenness. We are able to appreciate life in the big moments and small. We came out of the fire unconsumed and are both now passionate about spreading hope and sharing the relentless, fierce, powerful, consuming, and beautiful love of Jesus with others. God used our love story to help Don grow spiritually and to help restore countless wounded areas for me while simultaneously making us both more like Jesus and better tools for His Kingdom. What an amazing God.
I remember writing down a list of the characteristics I wanted in a husband shortly before I met Don. It was like God carefully molded my husband with me in His mind. There are certain characteristics of Don that fit so well with me in ways that only make sense because of my woundedness. It was like God had a plan of redemption for me all along, and my husband was a part of that plan. In no means is he perfect or is our relationship without trials, but I honestly can't imagine walking along side this messy little life with anyone else. Don is my biggest cheerleader, a huge supporter of this business, caring, attentive, engaging, faithful, honoring, thoughtful, and so much more. He challenges me to love others for who they are, to be more gracious and merciful, and has this amazing ability to understand people for right where they are (kind of like God). He told me recently that he prayed for someone like me two weeks before we met. Thank you, Lord for understanding our need.
As always, thanks for stopping by.